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AutoCon 2012 Announces TrueCar Sponsored Full Ride Scholarship Program

Automotive Media Partners, LLC and First Class Educators are proud to announce the creation of a scholarship program sponsored by TrueCar of Santa Monica, California.  TrueCar’s pioneering sponsorship of this program provides the funds to cover the costs of transportation to and from Las Vegas, local transfers, lodging at the Aria Resort and full AutoCon conference registration.  One of the most surprising aspects of TrueCar’s sponsorship is that the company has fully funded twelve (12) AutoCon Full Ride Scholarships.  A dozen automotive professionals will receive the educational, networking, inspiration and innovation benefits from attending the AutoConnections Conference and Exposition at no out of pocket expense for travel, meals or conference fees to themselves or their dealerships. 

The TrueCar AutoCon Scholarship Program is further evidence of the remarkable transformation that has taken place at TrueCar since the beginning of 2012. After receiving a remarkable level of criticism within the auto industry during the second half of 2011, TrueCar has evolved and revised their automotive purchasing programs for consumers and affiliated corporations to be far more dealer friendly.  TrueCar’s objectives supported by these changes have included raising dealer profit margins to levels that provide more room for dealers to cover facility costs and the staffing levels needed to properly service new vehicle buyers sent to them by TrueCar.   

TrueCar understands and recognizes the need for ongoing training and thought leadership within the ranks of the retail automotive industry.  Their management team has decided that one of the best ways to demonstrate this commitment to betterment of the industry is to commit the funds necessary to support independent dealer focused educational events such as AutoCon 2012.  TrueCar executives Bernie Brenner and Mike Timmons approached the founders of the Automotive Digital Marketing and dealerElite professional communities, Ralph Paglia, Chris Saraceno and Mike Myers because these online networks have served as “Ground Zero” for some of the industry’s harshest criticism of TrueCar in the recent past.  Surprising for a company as large as TrueCar is, their management team has reviewed the criticism published by members of the ADM and DealerELITE networks and taken corrective actions, changed their business models and worked with State dealer associations to create vehicle purchase programs that make sense for participating dealers. 

How will the TrueCar AutoCon Scholarships be Awarded?

TrueCar has asked that the AutoConnections Conference Management Team take full control and responsibility for ensuring that the 12 Full Ride Scholarships be awarded based on merit and need.  Criteria will include a wide geographic representation by selecting automotive professionals from every region in North America.  Another consideration will be to award scholarships to professionals who represent a diverse range of vehicle brands and positions within the dealerships they serve.   The application process will be a simple online application that includes all the expected contact information, a description of the applicant’s role in the dealership where they work and space for them to describe in their own words why they should be awarded a TrueCar AutoCon Scholarship to attend the AutoConnections Conference and Exposition in Las Vegas from September 5th to the 8th.  The AutoCon Scholarship Selection Committee is comprised of Ralph Paglia, Chris Saraceno, Mike Myers, Carrie Hemphill and Brian Pasch.  As applicants are being considered they will be contacted by a committee member and interviewed via phone and email.  Final selections will be made by committee vote and the awardees notified by email and phone.

Applications for TrueCar AutoCon Scholarships will be accepted starting Monday July 16 and award selections will begin Monday August 6, 2012.

With 12 TrueCar AutoCon Scholarships being awarded, the odds of being selected are probably better than any other similar program in the auto industry… So, do not hesitate to apply and encourage other automotive professionals to do so!  All of us who are stakeholders in the AutoCon event are thrilled with the investment being made by TrueCar to support what we believe is the best event in the auto industry.  The TrueCar sponsorship of AutoCon 2012 and the Full Ride Scholarship Program is appreciated and respected.  TrueCar is a company that has received an enormous amount of criticism, much of which has been emotionally charged and at times, crossed the boundaries of decency and professional behavior.  Many other companies faced with similar criticism and public ridicule would have released a barrage of legal actions to defend themselves.  TrueCar has consistently taken the high road and responded to their critics with program changes and sending their senior executives to major auto industry events and meetings.  The TrueCar sponsorship of AutoCon is further proof that this company is led by professionals who want to be valuable contributors to the overall success of the auto industry.

On behalf of the AutoCon team and the 12 auto industry professionals who will receive the benefit of these scholarship awards, a sincere thank you to TrueCar is extended.

  • Ralph Paglia
  • Chris Saraceno
  • Mike Myers
  • Carrie Hemphill
  • Brian Pasch 


Apply for a TrueCar AutoCon Scholarship online at


Join the ADM Professional Community at and the DealerELITE network at

Tags: 2012, Announces, AutoCon, Full, Program, Ride, Scholarship, Sponsored, TrueCar

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Very well stated.  I like it.

I get it Ralph.  However, a leader who makes such a strong statement on an internet video (TechCrunch) forum should also, directly, retract their statement in the same manner (not in a small group setting).  The words of their CEO were damning to their company, in the end.  That has happened many times before to other companies.  The Leader has a responsibility to their own company.  If they are that reckless with their company, how much more reckless will they be with ours?  It's hard to defend Trust.  Really hard.  I know there are great people who work for TrueCar.  I believe they will find other great companies to work for, ultimately, or they will find a safer leader.  Even great countries have been led by the wrong leaders.  An ego can be the death of some great ideas.  I hope they can move forward.  I'm still stuck on their initial goals that broke Trust.  We had to draw a line.  For now, TrueCar can try to build Trust from the other side of the line.  I'm ok with that.  Dealer participants should flood into your event because of its content...not its sponsor.  However, I do appreciate the sponsorship TrueCar.

The bottom line is this:

If Ralph chooses TrueCar to be a sponsor I'm sure he thought it out and I am sure that means that they are doing this for the better. They are sponsoring people to go that can't afford to pay to go. That is very noble of them to allow people to get education. I don't like the past TrueCar but I can respect the future TrueCar as long as they help industry and not hurt it.
I never question Ralph Paglia's judgements. He is a good man, great friend, and inspiration.

I couldn't agree with you more Stan---Granted TrueCar did what they did but everyone makes mistakes and it looks like TrueCar is trying to make things better with our Automotive industry.  Ralph would def not go into this without doing his research, I trust his judgement.  TrueCar is offering TWELVE full-ride scholarships to AutoCon 2012 and I'm excited for the twelve individuals who get to attend this "First Class" event! It's not as if TrueCar is just trying to be a vendor at this event they are truly offering a wonderful opportunity to those who can not attend financially...I think it's wonderful and I myself was excited when I found out about the scholarships, I come from a dealership in Texas that doesn't just get to send their employees to these Conferences, all my learning is done through ADM, DS, social media and a LOT of when I hear the chance to apply for scholarship I take it because there is nothing like HANDS on experience and networking with my peers.  I'm hopeful for the scholarship and KUDOS to Ralph, Carrie and the whole crew who agreed to let TrueCar sponsor these scholarships.

ok so for me being in the business of selling cars for 7 yrs and only taking time off to be at home with my kids, autocon2012 is a way for me to learn. i really dont care who sponsers it, for the simple fact that i personally put myself in for a scholarship and would be greatful to go and learn new thing to help myself and my dealership grow ... im new to adm and this truecar company is sponsering it thats great regaqrdless of what the past is right know were in the here and future ....... i work for a mid sized car lot in washington stat, and some of you car guys who are getting bent over a a sponser is very depressing to me i get email updates and try to be apart of even tho i only havea few friends on here  but i do get on here for positive car info and learning, even tho i am not the car girl i wanna be but im learning ... so i guess my point is after that huge rant is so what give people the benifit of doubt and look towards agreat future relationship im sure ralph and the other adm coordinators  are lookng at our future and not the past - april

also ralph and carrie are awesome and very informative


Thank you April! Everyone involved with AutoCon has a common objective... The betterment of the auto industry and the skills and know-how of the people working in the car business.

i get alot of great input off the web site i can imagine how much i would get from autocon ..... regardless of whos sponsering it

Since Jim Ziegler took on TrueCar tooth and nail, I'd feel much better about considering attending AutoCon 2012 if Jim came out and said he's ok with TrueCar being part of AutoCon 2012.

Patrick, I doubt if Jim will ever "like" TrueCar, but based on the changes they have made, and for the sake of AutoCon 2012 he has agreed to a truce and will not be campaigning against TrueCar... for now.

Hey Ralph - I`m on vacation this week, but I had to jump in on this one............... I gotta tell ya,...... personally I have to agree with Pat.....

All`s we heard for months on ADM was how Ziegler was going after TrueCar...... over & over........ AND over!

Now he has nothing to say in regards to this topic???????? Seems a little fishy to me......

Just sayin`....................


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